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Phil Foden confident young stars can steer England to major tournament success

England U21 v Austria U21 – UEFA Euro 2021 Under-21 Qualifying – Group 3 – Stadium MK
(Image credit: Tim Goode)

Phil Foden wants to become an England star and help lead the country to overdue silverware.

A fine end to the season with Manchester City led to the highly-rated 20-year-old receiving his first call-up to Gareth Southgate’s senior squad.

Since starring in England’s Under-17 World Cup triumph three years ago, it has been a case of when rather than if Foden would step up to the Three Lions squad – and hopefully add something unique to the midfield.

The playmaker has tried “not to read too much into” the hype and expectation in that period, with the City star focused on making his mark for the national team.

“I want to try and keep the shirt and play in England for many years,” Foden said.

“I feel like as a team we can go much further than what we have in the past.

“I feel really confident with the way we’re going and the players that we’ve got.

“We need to start winning tournaments and I’m hoping in the future we can do that.”

Foden is looking to follow Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi in becoming the third member of that triumphant Under-17 World Cup squad to make their senior England debut.

“The medal is still in my cabinet at home,” Foden, who also won the Golden Ball for his performances in India, said.

“If you win youth tournaments when you’re younger, it can give you the experience to go and win one in the first team.

“I feel like the World Cup definitely helped me to play on the big stage and not feel the pressure as much.

“I’ve played many big games at Man City now and I’ve learned to cope with the fans and pressure. I feel like definitely it helps you.”

England Under 17’s Arrival – Heathrow Airport

Phil Foden won the Under-17 World Cup with England (Steven Paston/PA)

Foden is hoping to make his senior debut this weekend in England’s first meeting with Iceland since their fateful Euro 2016 clash in Nice.

That 2-1 last-16 loss is one of the worst results in the Three Lions’ history, but things have moved on immeasurably since then in terms of personnel and belief under Southgate’s tutelage.

Foden watched that match from home and there appears little chance of any hangover from that defeat when England head to Iceland in the Nations League on Saturday.

“It was disappointing that night to go out like we did when everyone thought we were going to go further,” Foden said.

“I think the team we’ve got now, we’ve got like Champions League winners, Premier League winners in the team and we’ve got more experience that maybe we needed that day.

England v Iceland – UEFA Euro 2016 – Round of 16 – Stade de Nice

England suffered a humiliating defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016 (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“I feel like we’re ready for the tournaments coming up and I feel like we can build on the past and hopefully get to the final one day. That’s what I’m hoping.”

Asked if he has any fear, anxiety or pressure coming into this camp, Foden said: “No, we’re a young team and nothing fazes us. We just go out and play our football.

“I think that’s a good thing because we don’t think too much and we can start controlling games now because we’ve got the players for that.

“I’m just really confident for the future. It’s going to be good to see what England can do.”

The future certainly looks bright given the profile and age of the players in England’s squad, with Foden, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Declan Rice, Mason Mount, Mason Greenwood and Sancho all aged 21 or under.

“I definitely watched Jadon when he went to Dortmund,” Foden said of the latter’s inexorable rise in Germany.

“To do what he did at such a young age, there’s not many players that could have played at that high level and performed so well, so I definitely looked at what he was doing and was very impressed.

“There’s a lot of young players playing at a high level and it seems like every year younger players are playing more big games.

“It’s good to see young players getting their debuts and coming through.

“It just shows that academies have great coaches teaching them the right things and helping them go on to play in the first team.”